BWCA, Boundary Waters, Gear, Planning, Permits BWCA, Boundary Waters, Gear, Planning, Permits

Boundary Waters & Quetico - Planning and Gear Information

1. Getting Started on Your Boundary Waters and Quetico Planning

Before you begin your adventure into the BWCA or Quetico, you have some planning to do! Here are questions to ansswer and a list of tasks to start with:

Basic Questions to Answer

Are you considering renting a canoe and equipment or hiring a guide?

Canoe and gear rental is provided by Outfitters and Guides located around the BWCA and Quetico. Outfitters can help in your planning and provide many different services some of which are highlighted below:
  • Canoe rental and lightweight specialty canoe/camping gear.
  • Trip planning and permit booking.
  • Map, camping food, gear, and bait sales.
  • Shuttle boats providing faster access to remote entry points and the Quetico.
  • Guided trips.

What sort of trip am I interested in?

  • Fishing?
  • Easy, moderate, or challenging routes?
  • Specific scenery and wildlife?
  • Get away from people?
  • Time of year?

Pick an entry point and plan a route you will take.

If you aren't using an outfitter to help plan your trip or are just interested in researching trip options and ideas, we have a number of recommendations.

Join the helpful community of BWCA enthusiasts.

Enjoy asking questions and reading past posts in our messageboard forum area which contains a wealth of information.

Visit our book list for trip planning ideas and guides:

BWCA Book List

Outfitters can also help in recommending routes.

Reserve a permit for the BWCA and/or the Quetico Park.

- BWCA permits are available through outfitters and can be self booked at -
- Quetico permits are available through -
- Outfitters can help in booking these for you.

Make your travel reservations for arrival and departure.

- Plan your lodging at a hotel, resort, B&B, or campsite.
- Book airline and car reservations if necessary.

Obtain any licenses you need for your watercraft or to fish.

- Obtain any licenses you need for your watercraft or to fish
- Fishing licenses are required for both the BWCA and the Quetico.
- Trout Stamps are required in the BWCA when fishing designated trout streams or lakes or when in possession of trout or salmon.

Make sure the gear you plan on bringing is in good working order.

- Plan your lodging at a hotel, resort, B&B, or campsite.

Locate an outfitter in the area you are planning to go.

- An outfitter can provide you with canoe, gear, permits, food, transportation, and often times lodging for pre and post trip stays.

Obtain maps of travel route.

- Make sure portage and campsite information is marked on the maps.

Get tips from others on the route you are taking.

- Visit the online messageboard for fishing tips, gear discussion, and general trip planning information.

2. Group and Personal Check List

Checklists are critical for making sure you pack the right gear and also not too much.

View Check Lists

Our Sample Check List - View and Print the check list with all the gear and other necessary items your group may need.
- Make sure that your groups goes through this check list to determine who is bringing what gear, and what gear is being provided by your outfitter.
- Refine the checklist after your trip so that future trips you can remember what you forgot and was wasted weight.

3. Have a safe trip and come back to and share your experiences.

Come back and share your experience with the community. Discuss what was great and what didn't go so well. And start planning for your next trip.

Share your experience with others in the forums area.

- Visit the messageboard.

Upload photos to your personal photo journal.  

- After becoming a member and logging into, you create and share your photo journal online. Membership is free!

Publish a trip report

- After becoming a member and logging into, you create and share your trip reports.